Over at Sugarbutch, Mr. Sexsmith is starting up a symposium of butch bloggers/writers and addressing a question concerning butch and butch identity each month. As this is the first one, we have the most fundamental question. What exactly is butch? I collected my own thoughts below.
Though it might be how others identify butch individuals, for me butch has very little to do with clothes and hair. Butch is an attitude. I think above all Butch means embracing your protective instincts. Holding a door open for a woman…or a man. Standing up for others who can’t stand up for themselves. Butch means not being afraid to get dirty especially when others are involved.
It means always hauling the heavy stuff your roommate can’t and hiding the fact that the box is slipping from your fingers and your arms are screaming out in pain. It’s that swelling in your chest when a female friend compliments your strength or calls you brave, sexy, handsome. And it’s that awkward feeling when people call you pretty, beautiful, or *gasp* feminine! It’s the feeling when someone is hassling your friend that makes you want to haul out and slug them despite any size differences or logic. It’s knowing when to listen and knowing when you back up your girl/friends. It’s that feeling of confidence when you wear a dapper suit or perfectly fit t-shirt. It’s calm under pressure (almost always at least). It’s presence and swagger. A woman can be dressed up as the completely stereotypical feminine icon, but if she has the appropriate swagger she can be Butch.
Coming from a more analytical perspective it’s the masculine part of the spectrum for all genders. A lesbian friend of mine, SL, called butch “performed masculinity”. I disagree wholeheartedly. Clothing is a choice. Hair is a choice. Butch isn’t. Embellishment might be but otherwise I believe it’s as inherent as sexual orientation.
I take great pride in being Butch-identified. Butch men and women are tough, strong, dependable, giving, and chivalrous. With such wonderful adjectives like that who wouldn't want to be or know a Butch?